How Car Rental Companies Are Responding To Green Requests
Response in Europe remains larger than this side of the Atlantic
The conversion to greener fleets in North America has been happening at a slower pace than expected. Sales of electric vehicles were down in the U.S. last year, largely due to lower fuel costs and higher sticker prices of green mobility options, giving consumers more reasons to stick with internal combustion models. Furthermore, fleets run by larger car rental companies have little more than two or three electric or hybrid offerings, reflecting a reluctant consumer demand to opt for a plug-in option.
That reality, however, hasn’t been front page news in the media, with accounts that more consumers are wanting eco-friendly alternatives when it comes to drivable products. Despite the noise created by environmentalists clamoring for rapid change, the market doesn’t exactly work that way. Long-term changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary.
That said, there’s no shortage of measures that car rental companies are taking to address the changes when they come, and much of that has to do with technology. Car rental apps, which have been upgraded to offer greater profile management options and more choices when it comes to model availability, selection and booking convenience.
The larger companies have been leading the field when it comes to app upgrades and the smart money would rest on data from those apps to report on any changes in consumer preferences and address them accordingly.
Initiatives Springing From Europe
To get a clearer picture of how the green transition might further manifest itself, Europe is a good place to assess the action. Interestingly enough, it’s the smaller companies leading the charge. British-based Affordable Car Hire, which has a few offices in the U.S. and Canada, has noticed increases in demand for vehicles emitting lower carbon footprints and have partnered with electric car providers.
“Our partners are aware of the need for low-emission vehicles as well as increasing their range of electric cars, said Affordable Car Hire’s David Gordon to TTG Media. “We endeavor to meet customer demand, and rental periods can be flexible as required.”
Meanwhile,Your Car Hire has been working with issues regarding green mobility and destinations distances, especially regarding the company’s more remote offices, but hopes to have electric vehicles available at all their offices by 2023. Green fleet provider Flexible Autos is offering a similar infrastructure, which reports availability at all its locations. However, it still remains a work in progress.
Even though green options generate more headlines than sales in North America, at least the technology is in place to read the tea leaves signaling any genuine change in the horizon. But it’s still dependent on how the overall market will behave.